The SPDN Entomology Subcommittee focuses on the needs of entomology relative to the SPDN's mission. Entomologists on this committee integrally work with their SPDN plant pathology counterparts in order to address SPDN-related needs on a state-by-state basis. Additionally, committee members serve as networking liaisons for the SPDN to other entomologists in their state.
The southern region of the U.S. is constantly at risk of exotic arthropod establishment. Millions of U.S. dollars have been spent on costly eradication and integrated pest management control programs for exotic arthropods, despite extensive efforts of federal and state regulatory agencies to exclude these 'unwanted visitors'. Integrally including the entomologists at land grant universities in the early detection of these exotic, invasive pests will only assist with the battle against these invaders and serve as an additional line of defense for U.S. agriculture. In conjunction with the SPDN's mission to protect U.S. agriculture from exotic, invasive species, the SPDN Entomology Subcommittee identified several major areas of need for entomology including:
Many land grant universities have drastically cut funding to entomology-related diagnostic labs. In many cases, microscopic equipment upgrades and part-time assistance for sorting samples is needed.
Professional development workshops for enhancing diagnostic skills would allow more entomologists to tentatively identify suspect exotics at the genera or species-level. Species-level identification is necessary in order to determine whether or not an arthropod is 'exotic' and there are few group specialists nationwide to identify several economically important pests.
Information of exotic arthropods of concern as well as more regional keys of economically important pests would be useful for entomology diagnosticians. Some major taxonomic works that are useful for identification of pest groups are out-of-print, difficult to obtain, or extremely costly.
Better networking among land grant university diagnosticians and other entomology diagnosticians and specialists is needed. The concept of developing an entomology diagnostician listserve was developed.
More educational material for county agents, crop consultants, and other First Detector groups on exotic pests.
Integrating entomology diagnostic labs sample information into the NPDN database